Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Saturday blamed the Centre for widespread power outages in several parts of the country.

He raised concerns over the government’s move of cancelling passenger trains to make way for coal carriages.

“Government has found the perfect solution: cancel passenger trains and run coal rakes,” Chidambaram wrote on Twitter. “Modi hai, mumkin hai.”

On Friday, the Central government cancelled 657 mail, express and passenger train services to prioritise the movement of coal wagons, ANI reported. This was done to replenish coal stocks at thermal plants in various states amid an increase in electricity demand because of a heatwave.

On Saturday, Chidambaram said that the country was facing power cuts despite having an abundant supply of coal.

“Abundant coal, large rail network, unutilised capacity in thermal plants,” he said. “Yet, there is acute power shortage. Modi government cannot be blamed. It is because of 60 years of Congress rule.”

On Thursday, Union Power Minister RK Singh had claimed that electricity supply problems were occurring not due to coal shortages, but because of state governments’ pending dues with Coal India Limited.

Singh said that in the month of April, 70 million units of peak power demand was not met across India. The corresponding figure in March was 14 million units, he said.

“There is no incompetence in the Ministries of Coal, Railway or Power,” Chidambaram said. “The blame lies with past Congress ministers of the said departments.”

Last week, the electricity deficit in India hit 623 million units, exceeding the total shortfall recorded in March.

‘Artificial crisis in scorching summer’: Congress

On Friday, Congress spokesperson Gourav Vallabh said that the Modi government’s “mismanagement of coal distribution” was the cause of the power crisis, PTI reported.

“This power crisis is artificial and is due to the poor governance and poor management in coal distribution,” he said at a press conference. “This is purely misgovernance.”

He questioned why thermal plants in various states were not operating.

“Why are states being forced to buy power at Rs 12 per mega watt?” he asked. “Against the daily demand of 22 lakh tonnes of coal, why only 16 lakh tonnes are being supplied? What is the government’s plan to cater to the peak power demand and resolve the current power crisis?”

While Rajasthan was facing a power shortage of 9.6%, Uttar Pradesh was experiencing a shortage of 9%, Vallabh alleged.

Also read: Rajasthan: BJP blames ruling Congress for power crisis after chief minister alleges coal shortage